Esther, waiting for the bus in snow in London, UK – Photo Courtesy: Esther Simpson
Even before winter comes around in full swing, my skin begins to show telltale signs of the cold weather to come by becoming dry, itchy and rough as alligator-skin. I’ve been known to wake up bleeding from scratching so ferociously in the night that I have to make sure my nails are kept extra-short during the cold months.
Since I keep trying to find newer and better ways to fight this menace of the itchy winter skin, here are some helpful tips that I’ve learned along the way — and if you’ve got any suggestions for me, I’d love to hear them too!
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!
When you’re done moisturizing — moisturize some more. It may sound silly, but I’ve learned that lathering on lotion every once in a while – even one that claims to tackle the toughest, driest skin – can only do so much. Rather, a routine schedule of head-to-toe lathering right after you take a shower, and most especially if you shave, will help to lock in moisture and keep skin soft and supple.
Pick the Right Moisturizer
You already know that if you have sensitive skin, you should be using a moisturizer that is perfume and dye free, but you should also look for special winter formulas that work efficiently in cold weather. Generally speaking, the more oil the product contains, the more lubricating it will be. If you’re not picky, a petroleum-based jelly like Vaseline can work wonders on dry skin, particularly on dry, cracked hands, fingernails and feet – and it’s cheaper than most other body lotions on the market.
Don’t Put Body Lotion on Your Face
That’s why face creams were invented. The skin on your face is much more delicate than the rest of your body, so look for vitamin-enriched creams that can help facial skin to stay resilient during the cold winter months. Using a body lotion on your face can lead to irritation or breakouts, so invest in a winter facial moisturizer that can last you the whole season.
Showers – Get In & Get Out
As nice as it can be to soak under the hot water on a cold winter day, taking showers at high temperatures can be very drying on your skin. Shortening the length of your shower or going for a lukewarm temperature is best when you’re trying to keep dry skin at bay. Better yet, a lukewarm bath with a sprinkling of moisturizing bath oil will leave your skin smooth as a baby’s bottom, and is far more relaxing.
Bring on the Humidity
The winter is one of few times when you should welcome humidity into your home. Installing a humidifier not only relieves and prevents dry, itchy skin but it can also relieve cold symptoms, reduce your chances of getting sick, and help you to breathe easier, all by making the air moist.
Adrienne writes for special-interest magazines and has worked on the production of women’s lifestyle channels at AOL as well as at E! Entertainment Television. She graduated from CUNY Baruch, where she served as the editor-in-chief of the award-winning student newspaper The Ticker.